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Make a difference with your environment
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

Do you keep up with "national" days that are celebrations or reminders of things in our life that we like?

For instance there is a "National Apple Pie Day" and last Wednesday was "National Vodka Day." It was probably a good thing that I missed that one.

Charm Reed helps many of us keep up with these days during the year. I would like to invite you to celebrate an upcoming national day that for more than 20 years has reminded us to provide a day of service to help others and to help our community. USA WEEKEND Magazine created "Make a Difference Day," an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. Make a Difference Day is the nation’s largest day of community service. Make a Difference Day is a USA TODAY initiative, backed by the Gannett Co., Points of Light Foundation and TEGNA. It is a "celebration of neighbors helping neighbors." Tens of thousands of volunteers from across the nation will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others and our communities on this day.

The projects around the country on Make a Difference Day show that anyone, regardless of age, location or resources. can accomplish amazing things when they work together to take on problems they see in their community.

In Liberty County, Keep Liberty Beautiful holds our main Rivers Alive cleanup day on Make a Difference Day Oct. 28. Each year since our first Rivers Alive in 2006, KLB has been a registered activity for this major volunteer drive. Make a Difference Day is advertised as a "celebration of neighbors helping neighbors."

Isn’t that truly what all communities really need? If people would go back to "doing for" our neighbors in need, taking care of those less fortunate in our communities, and taking care of our community, we would need a lot less government intervention, and a lot less government spending. What the world really needs is more of us caring and reaching out to make a difference for others and for our Earth — without being told or taxed.

Rivers Alive is our way in the fall of helping to care for our community by taking care of our waterways. Rivers Alive is a statewide effort to preserve and protect our waterways in Georgia. Rivers Alive is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division’s Environmental Outreach Program. Rivers Alive events are also part of the international efforts of The Ocean Conservancy. As a coastal county that is also 40 percent "wet" with marshes, wetlands, creeks and rivers, clean and healthy waterways are crucial for all of us in Liberty County.

In just a few hours of your time on a Saturday morning, you can make a powerful difference where you live by helping to remove litter and debris in and near our waterways. All of these water-rich areas, from wetlands to rivers, serve as homes to wildlife and aquatic life. Wetlands also serve as filters for the water flowing through them. When we overload these wetlands with debris, they cannot function properly. Waterways also serve as a source for our drinking water and as a destination for our recreation and fun\.

Tell me, do you want to drink dirty water, or swim or ski or fish in it? I do not think so.

So, plan now to make a difference by contacting us at Keep Liberty Beautiful. To register, call 880-4888 or email We have more than 70 locations targeted for cleanups so there is definitely a place for you. And do not worry if you do not like to get your feet wet, we have plenty of cleanup locations on dry land. We will also have official Rivers Alive T-shirts for the first 650 registered volunteers. We provide all the supplies for our hardworking volunteers. Our sponsor, SNF, provides a fabulous cookout for volunteers at Riceboro Creek Park on Highway 17 South after the cleanups. We really appreciate their annual support for this program, because these cleanups would not be possible without them.

If the 28th does not work for you and your group, we can schedule another cleanup date. We have plenty of places around our community that could use the help of volunteers like you. But let me urge you to consider some project for make a difference day whether it is with Rivers Alive or some other worthy volunteer effort in our community. We can make an incredible difference in our community by working together. Have a happy Make a Difference Day.

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